Hamas gunman killed in clash in Gaza-witnesses
GAZA, June 12 (Reuters) A gunman from a Hamas paramilitary unit was killed in a clash with members of a security force loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza today amid rising internal political tension, witnesses said.
The gunman was shot dead when the two sides exchanged fire at a funeral march for an activist from Hamas, the Islamic militant ruling party, who died of wounds received in a firefight last week between rival groups.
Each side accused the other of starting the clash in southern Gaza between the force set up last month by Hamas and members of the Preventive Security Service.
Abbas and the Hamas government are heading for a showdown over the president's call for a referendum on a manifesto for Palestinian statehood that implicitly recognises Israel.
Hamas, which is committed to the abolition of the Jewish state, has rejected the proposal and its lawmakers are expected to file a motion in parliament later today to try to declare the referendum illegal.
Around 20 people have been killed in the past month in clashes between Hamas and forces loyal to Abbas in Gaza.
REUTERS SHB ND1826